Car Thieves Target Catalytic Converters

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seats.
You're right...seldom were honest bucket seats available at a wrecking yard.
This was a case of create the demand first, and then supply the demand (with the victimss own bucket seats from a wrecking yard)
These were usually rather new cars, with upmarket nice bucket seats. I think we paid about $10,000 for the Fiero in 1984. $2000 wouldnt be enough to total the car out.
And there were no accidents involved, of course. A large number of seat thefts started this thing running.
These guys bilked the insurance companies for a lot of money. If the police and insurance companies had worked together, they could have gotten this stopped a lot sooner than they did.
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snipped-for-privacy@nospam.nix wrote:

we had the same problem in Louisiana, when the T-Tops came out. I was selling car insurance , and for awhile, it was a surcharge for cars with T-Tops.
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In alt.autos.ford betrtimes@green acres.farm wrote:

A friend had T-tops stolen by a landscaping crew where he worked. They tossed the T-Tops into the grass trimmings that they bundled up in burlap and took them away.
He had the door repaired, and the T-tops replaced, at the local Corvette specialty shop, which offered to put used T-tops on. He refused, on the basis that he might likely be buying back his own T-tops.
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Clarence A Dold - Hidden Valley Lake, CA, USA GPS: 38.8,-122.5
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IF someone goes in and steals your seats, that is a insured loss. Fortunately, they are rare. Which was probably what tipped off the insurance companies.
I remember a few years ago, a kid was about 11. He was in a car crash that required replacement seats. The car he was in ran off the road. It hit a tree and only the bumper was damaged. However, after what my cousin did, his pants, underwear and seat required replacement.
Jeff
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I guess even Febreze couldn't have handled that one.
Lee
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It wasnt rare when this crime wave was going on... It was happening every night, and lots of cars were stolen.
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Jeff wrote:

It never made sense to me that someone could "relax and go" at a time like that. I always thought it was just a bad joke on TV. GW
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Or the accident can cause seats to be stolen.
Back about 1968, I got creamed in my '62 Corvair Monza with bucket seats. The car was totaled, (hit by a tractor-trailer) and the driver's seat was damaged. They took the car to the parking lot with a fork lift truck from the shop. My passenger seat was stolen. No big loss, since the car was totaled and I was never going to drive it. Meantime, the thieves needed a matching seat so they stole the driver's side seat out of another Corvair in the lot owned by one of my co-workers. I forget the final outcome, but he sat on a milk crate for a few days.
Loved to drive that Corvair. Hated Nader for killing them.
--
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http://pages.cthome.net/edhome/



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Lee C. Carpenter wrote:

Nope. There is vandalism. It ticks up to the value of the car just like collision damage. I had a friend with an 87 Olds 442. It was stolen 3 times between 1987 and 1999. Each time the vehicle was repaired, the last time being $8700 in 1998. All 3 times the driver seat covering was damaged. The last time, the driver seat frame was damaged to the tune of $1200 for an exact replacement. Damage comes from all directions, not just collisions.
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You could just not see him there & drive off. Be good if you could devise an excuse for all that rapid back & forth driving..
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Hehe..that would limit his repeat offenses, wouldnt it? Actually, in this state we have rather wide discrimination if someone enters our homes or is caught in the act of theft. Especially so if the crime is considered 'night burglary'.
Unfortunately, petty thieves here will kill you for a tank full of gasoline, just so that they wont be identified in the theft.
The sheriff once told me "If he's inside the door, shoot the son of a bitch. If he isn't, shoot him anyway and call me. I'll help you drag him inside"
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I had just heard recently that they are valuable for scrap. Rhodium is quite high, but I am not sure about platinum. I don't really have a buyer for them here, but I do get them occasionally on junk cars.

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That's why catalytic converters are so expensive in the first place.
To get mine replaced, it cost Ford something like $400 each (they're two on my Contour).
Jeff
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Years ago, as the need for platinum increased, it was harder to obtain, and very expensive. To make matters worse, Russia, the worlds largest supplier, decided to stop exports. It was found that less platinum could be used, if it was alloyed with rhodium.
Steve R.
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Here is the straight dope:
Feb. 6, 2007
(AP) Thieves have long targeted car stereos, air bags, high-intensity headlights, even pocket change from the ashtrays. But now they are slithering under vehicles and cutting away the catalytic converters.
The anti-pollution devices contain small amounts of platinum, rhodium and palladium, and the value of these precious metals has been rising sharply, making catalytic converters a hot commodity in more ways than one at scrap yards from Maine to California.
"These thieves catch on quicker than us honest people," said Kennie Andersen from Andersen Sales and Salvage Inc. in Greeley, Colo.
In Bangor, Maine earlier this month, thieves brazenly removed catalytic converters in a busy hospital parking lot in daylight. Police also have fielded reports of thefts in recent weeks in Alabama, California, Louisiana, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Tennessee.
Old catalytic converters are usually sold for scrap. The prices paid by scrap yards for one of the devices have generally risen from $5 to $30 a decade ago to $5 to $100 nowadays. Some models can fetch up to $150.
Frank Scafidi, National Insurance Crime Bureau spokesman in Sacramento, Calif., had no immediate figures on catalytic-converter thefts. "We have regular reports of these things being stolen, but it's sporadic. It's not the kind of thing that's an epidemic," he said.
Stealing one of the devices often takes only minutes and requires little more than a battery-powered metal saw to cut through the exhaust pipe. Once the catalytic converter is gone, the car may look fine, but the exhaust lets out a NASCAR-like roar when the driver turns the key.
While some unscrupulous scrap dealers ask no questions, the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries issues e-mail alerts whenever thefts of converters are reported and urges members to screen suppliers and photocopy the driver's licenses of those who sell them, said Bryan McGannon, spokesman for the trade group.
"Playing by the rules is good business," he said. "Nobody wants to be tied up in a police investigation where your materials are tied up for weeks."
In Bangor, medical secretary Karen Thompson was summoned by hospital security to the parking lot, where someone had cut away the converters from a couple of vehicles, including her 2006 Toyota Tundra pickup. When she started up the truck, it rumbled as if there was no muffler.
"It was really, really loud. The rearview mirror shook," Thompson recalled. The cost of replacement and repairs at her Toyota dealership was $2,100.
Millions of catalytic converters have been put on cars and trucks since they were introduced in 1974. Inside most of them is a ceramic honeycomb coated in a material that contains platinum, rhodium and palladium, which serve as a catalyst to reduce tailpipe emissions of unburned hydrocarbons, carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxides.
The growth in thefts has accompanied the rise in value of these precious metals, said Ashok Kumar of A-1 Specialized Services and Supplies of Croyton, Pa. Platinum, for example, was selling for $400 an ounce in August 2001; the price is more than $1,100 today, Kumar said.
Police said the thieves often are drug addicts looking for fast cash. Thieves tend to target sport utility vehicles and pickup trucks because they do not have to be jacked up. A thief can simply crawl under the vehicle.
Yet another $.02 worth from a proud owner of a 1970 Mach 1 351C sans catalytic converter @ http://community.webshots.com/album/18644819fHAehGJAjt

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